Perdue Encourages Collective, Individual Action on Legislation, Regulation


ara-17-713 U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue addressed attendees to conclude at the ARA Conference and Expo.

His comments, made during the closing general session on Thursday, November 30, capped off a successful conference with nearly 700 attendees and tradeshow featuring more than 70 exhibitors.

Sec. Perdue covered a broad range of issues including tax reform, deregulation, trade, food security, infrastructure, school lunches and the farm bill. He also met briefly with volunteer leaders, media and the Agricultural Retailers Association staff before and after his presentation.

ARA broadcast his comments via Facebook Live. A high-resolution video of his address is now available, along with slides, audio, and video from other #ARA2017 presenters (member's only).

Perdue, who noted his past experience in the fertilizer business and with ARA's predecessor organization, the National Fertilizer Solutions Association, talked extensively about the tax reform bill, which was under debate in the Senate. He encouraged those in the business of agriculture to contact their representatives in Washington, D.C., to communicate their corporate and individual interests.

"Farming is a great lifestyle, but you don't get to do it very long as a lifestyle if you don't make money at it," he said. "You need to speak through your associations, but you also need to speak independently. Talk to your members of Congress and let them know what's on your mind. Weigh in on what you like about (the tax reform bill), what you don't like about it."

One way to have your voice heard is to attend the ARA Winter Board Meeting and Capitol Hill Fly-in, February 5-7, in Washington, D.C. Last year, attendees participated in more than 150 meetings with House and Senate members and staff. Save the dates! Registration will open soon.

Another opportunity to get engaged is to serve on a committee. Interested individuals may participate in public policy, member services or conference planning committees or working groups such as sustainability, transportation, tax/finance, security, biotech/seed, OSHA, and others. Contact David McKnight to learn more...

His closing comments focused on the next farm bill, calling it an evolution, not revolution.

"You're going to see a farm bill with a safety net balanced primarily by crop insurance," he said. "We want a safety net that keeps people where they can do it again, but we don't want farmers farming for the program. Your customers would much rather have a good crop at a fair price than any kind of government program."

He asked for the input of ag retailers as the farm bill comes together.

The complete audio and video of Perdue's comments to the ARA Conference and Expo are available online along with photos from the conference.